Stop thinking. Stop reading this for a second and stop thinking.
It’s not easy, is it? And why would it be? After all, it’s your brain’s job to think. But with practice, it can be trained to be quiet.
And why would I ever want my brain to be quiet? A few reasons:
Imagine that your brain has two settings, ON and OFF. We’re quite familiar with the ON. It’s how we spend the vast majority of our existence. And thank God for the ON, for if we didn’t have the ability to think, we’d be totally dysfunctional. But there’s a whole other realm to be explored. The OFF. Also referred to as the discontinuity, or The Gap, it’s a magical state where we transcend thought and enter the world of infinite possibilities. The realm of pure potentiality.
In this state of stillness and spaciousness we remember that we are inextricably connected to all that is. We experience infinite peace. Fear is a product of thinking. Specifically, thinking about what could go wrong. In the absence of thought, there can be no fear. And in the absence of fear, there is only peace, compassion, love, and lightness of being.
Practicing creating stillness doesn’t actually result in stillness in all areas of the brain. In fact, it activates one part of the brain (the neocortex, or frontal lobe), but it quiets another part (the thalamus). The result is called coherence. And the benefits of coherence, as you see in the list above, are numerous. This practice of getting in the “OFF’, so to speak, results in mastery in all forms.
And the practice is so simple.
Give yourself twenty minutes to do this practice. Sit quietly somewhere you will not be interrupted or distracted. You will do this practice silently in your mind with your eyes closed.
1. Begin the practice by taking a couple deep breaths and then ask yourself and answer the following 3 questions:
Reflecting upon these three questions will serve to remind you of who you are and want to be, what you desire for your life and for others’, and of your ultimate mission – that which is more important to you than anything else, something that you will be proud to say you honored consistently as you grow older. This life purpose will involve in some way, making a contribution to the world.
2. Once you have reflected upon those questions and answered them, it’s time to begin the actual gap meditation.
Simply sit comfortably with your eyes closed and begin to quiet the mind. Become an observer of the mind. Observe the thoughts that arise and remember that you are not those thoughts.
3. As you notice the thoughts that your mind is generating, simply and gently release them as if to release the pressure of holding onto a small helium filled balloon. And simply continue to repeat that practice for the duration of the meditation. It’s simply a practice of noticing and releasing the thoughts that our minds create. It’s a practice of conditioning the mind into a higher functioning state of coherence. Ultimately, you will experience gaps in thinking, spaces of thoughtlessness. That happens spontaneously as a result of the practice. Notice those gaps and over time experience what it is like to permit yourself to stay in those gaps longer and longer before exiting it by generating the next thought.
You’ll notice many things as you practice the meditation, but one thing to pay particular attention to is the lightness that you feel when you release an unpleasant thought. You will invariably get caught up in some disturbing or anxiety provoking thought. Then you’ll remember that you don’t need it. You’ll release it. And the subsequent experience will be that you return to peace and lightness. This peace or lightness of being is your natural state. It never disappears. You are eternally enveloped within it. You can only render yourself incapable of experiencing it with negative thinking. As you practice The Gap, you’ll be strengthening your ability to make that same shift throughout your day. The shift from unnecessary suffering back to peace. And as a result, you’ll feel better, and activate mastery in all you do.